AN extra £220,000 will be spent on an extension to a long-delayed car park extension.

Oxford City Council signed off plans to extend Seacourt Park and Ride last summer, with a £5.2 million budget, though an earlier attempt to start the work had begun in 2018.

When finished the park and ride will have an extra 595 spaces, as well as new bicycle storage but it has faced delays due to winter flooding and the coronavirus.

To help pay for the costs of the delays, Oxford's city council cabinet, its most senior councillors, signed off on £220,000 extra funding for the project at the end of August.

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Because of this and previous delays, the project's total cost is now approximately £5.6m.

A spokesman for Oxford City Council said: "Following exceptional weather last winter and the impact of Covid 19, the project has been delayed by 17 weeks. The additional resulting costs of £220,000 were reported to cabinet in August. The decision to approve it was taken in public at the Cabinet meeting."

Oxford Mail:

Seacourt during the flooding in February. Picture: Ed Nix

At the cabinet meeting on August 12, the additional funding was approved as part of a quarterly review of the council's finances.

The money which is paying for the extra work at the park and ride is coming from a £1.8m Grey Fleet budget, which is no longer needed according to the review.

Grey fleets are employee owned cars used for business travel.

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The extra £220,000 is a relatively small amount of money when compared with the original overall budget for the park and ride extension, which stands at £5,156,122.00.

But this did not stop Oxford City Council's opposition groups from criticising the project.

Dick Wolff of the Oxford Green Party said: “The money could have been spent in any number of ways that would have benefitted the people of Oxford like cycle infrastructure, improvements in council housing, renewable energy and so on. The last thing we need at the moment are more cars.”

Oxford Mail:

Work resumed at Seacourt in April after the ground dried out. Picture: Ed Nix

And Lib Dem city councillor Roz Smith also raised concerns about the decision having been taken without the opportunity for the council's scrutiny committees to discuss it.

Ms Smith added: "I think it is wrong to spend taxpayers money in this way.

"Do people on the Botley Road and in the west of Oxford really want more car parking spaces off an already very busy road? I am sure they don't."

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The city council has previously said that extending Seacourt will help to prevent congestion and harmful emissions on city centre roads by taking people out of their cars and encouraging them on to buses.

In July, the added costs of flooding were calculated as approximately £245,000, with the total budget at the time adding up to £5,401,122.

Adding the new £220,000 agreed last month on top of this increases the new total budget for Seacourt Park and Ride to £5,621,122.